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PeopleSoft Rejects Oracle; Ellison Appeals To Shareholders

He says he will walk away if the majority of shareholders don't themselves sell to Oracle by Nov. 19.
PeopleSoft's fate is in the hands of its shareholders. Late Wednesday, the company's board voted unanimously to reject Oracle's "best and final offer" to acquire the company for $24 per share, or about $8.8 million.

PeopleSoft issued a statement saying that the board recommends shareholders not tender their shares to Oracle because the offer "substantially undervalues" the company.

Oracle says it will withdraw the offer at midnight, Nov. 19, if a majority of shares has not been tendered by PeopleSoft stockholders.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison issued a statement saying "Oracle has been at this for a year and a half and it is now time to bring this matter to a close." The statement says the $24 bid is "the absolute maximum" Oracle will offer. "Beyond that, there are better uses of our capital including other acquisitions and repurchasing our own shares."

PeopleSoft also has not withdrawn the poison pill anti-takeover measure that Oracle has challenged in a Delaware Chancery Court. The judge in that case has yet to issue a ruling.

An Oracle spokeswoman says that as of Oct. 29, nearly 20.2 million shares--just over 5% of the outstanding shares of PeopleSoft--had been tendered. More recent numbers have not been disclosed.